Defending champion Petr Vakoč and two-time winner Philippe Gilbert will headline our squad for Wednesday's race.
Brabantse Pijl, which this year is running its 57th edition, makes the transition from the cobbled to the Ardennes classics, taking the riders over a 205.3km-long course comprising 26 climbs. First part of the route will serve as an appetizer, giving the riders the opportunity to find the race flow, before hitting a tough circuit which is set to be covered four times.
Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, Ijskelderlaan and Schavei are the five hills on the Overijse circuit, the last two coming in quick succession not far from the finish. The beauty of the race resides in the fact that the leg-sapping circuit splits the bunch into several small groups, favouring the attackers, who can take advantage of the tricky corners and descents coming into the last kilometers to hold off the chasers and solo to victory on the punchy Schavei.
In 2016, Petr Vakoč became the first ever Czech rider to finish at the top at Brabantse Pijl, following a perfectly-executed team plan and a devastating attack on the race's decisive climb. The 24-year-old will line up in Leuven's Town Square with bib number 1 on the back, part of a very strong Quick-Step Floors setup, which will include another winner of the classic, Philippe Gilbert.
The Belgian Champion will return to action this Wednesday, ten days after scoring one of the most impressive triumphs ever seen in Ronde van Vlaanderen, with a 55km solo move.
Dries Devenyns, who finished in the top 10 on three occasions at his previous seven participations in Brabantse Pijl, will add even more depth to the team, which will be rounded out by Rémi Cavagna, Laurens De Plus, Tim Declercq, Enric Mas (best U23 rider of Vuelta al Pais Vasco) and Martin Velits.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele